Smell Like Dirt

In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Margaret Atwood

Archive for November, 2007

Composting Class at Latta Plantation

Jean Woods, North Carolina Native Plant Society, will be teaching the last composting class until the spring at Latta Plantation Nature Center this Saturday, 12/1, from 9am-1pm.  The class, made possible by Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Authority, is $10 and will cover planting with native plants, soil stewardship and how to build a compost pile. You will receive a wire bin to take home for your own compost pile and a book with lots of information on composting and a great list of plants native to this area.  You have to register, so call 704 875 1391 and sign up!

Roosting Boxes

Now that winter is almost here, its time to think about our feathered friends in our backyards and give them a roosting box!  Roosting boxes are designed to house a large number of birds safely.  It provides shelter from the weather and predators.  There’s a great box featured that will double as a nesting box in the spring and summer and you can get it at a local bird store (SLD’s favorite store is Backyard Wild in Matthews, NC) or you can build your own with these plans.  Before the harshest weather arrives, put up a roosting box….the birds will appreciate it.

Swat a Litterbug!

Don’t you just hate litter?!?  Litter is ugly, costly to remove and dangerous to wildlife.  A lot of hawks and other raptors are injured and killed each year by cars.  And one of the main reasons is that people throw litter from cars on the roads and highways, which attract rodents to the sides of the roads.  And the presence of rodents attracts hawks and other raptors.   Many cities, counties and states have started Litterbug Hotlines to allow citizens to report Litterbugs.  Here in the Charlotte, NC area, we have two ways to report litterbugs.  You can call the hotline number (704 432 1772)or go online and fill out a report.  I have the number programmed into my cellphone.  When I see someone throw something out the window, or debris fly out of the back of trucks, I use my cellphone to report the deed!  When you witness a litterbug in action, note the license plate number, date/time and location of the incident, and the type of litter (cigarette butt, soda can, etc).  When you can safely do so, call the number and leave the information on the hotline voice mail or go online to fill out the form.  The offending party will be sent a letter informing them that someone reported their “litterbuggy-ness” and a warning of the fines that could result if s/he continues to litter.  If you live elsewhere in the United States, do a Google search for a Litterbug Hotline near you.  Maybe if offenders realize that there are eyes everywhere watching, they will think twice before they toss their trash out of the window.  So go on!  Swat A Litterbug!

Local Harvest Thanksgiving

I hope everyone is enjoying a Happy and Safe Holiday Weekend.  We truly had a feast yesterday here at SLD headquarters.  Our turkey and the chicken used in the stuffing and gravy was locally grown at my favorite farm here in the Charlotte area.  The turkey was on the “hoof” so to speak earlier this week, so it was definitely fresh.  The veggies used in casseroles like sweet potatoes and broccoli were also grown locally and the herbs, eggs and milk all came from within 20 miles of our home with some of the herbs right out of our garden.Buying and eating locally grown food is a movement that has gained some traction over the last year and I encourage everyone to find a small organic farmer or two near you to support.  Not only will you enjoyed delicious produce and other food, you will be supporting sustainable agriculture and a way of life that will rapidly disappear if we don’t support it.  Enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend and go to Local Harvest to find an organic farmer near you! 

Rattlesnake Rescue Article

My hometown newspaper, The Lake City Reporter, ran a great article on the snake rescue.  Todd Wilson, Editor, spoke with Loye Barnard, one of the rescuers and an avid conservationist in North Florida, and wrote a great piece on how everything—plants and animals—has a purpose in nature.  We were delighted that Todd mentioned Smell Like Dirt and I hope if anyone from Lake City visits this site, they will post a comment.  If you haven’t seen the the Rattlesnake Rescue Video, check it out on the VodPod listing on this blog. And for you Lake Citians, there is also a great video of the Ichetucknee River in case you haven’t visited it recently. Hopefully you will be inspired to go kayaking!

Smell Like Dirt Takes A Road Trip

We recently spent a week kayaking the Ichetucknee River in North Florida and although we’ve already posted a couple of great videos from our trip (see the Rattlesnake Rescue and Pileated Woodpeckers on the VodPod on the far right of your screen), we are posting this overview of the State Park and all of the wildlife we saw.  Its a great place to see a lot of amazing wildlife and if you can’t get to Florida soon, we hope it will inspire you to visit a park near you to see wildlife in their natural habitat. 

Composting Class on Sat 11/10 at Reedy Creek. Call now to reserve your seat in the class

I am teaching a PLANT (Piedmont Landscaping and Naturescaping Training) on Saturday at Reedy Creek Nature Preserve from 9a-1p for Mecklenburg County Solid Waste Authority. The class is $10 (Reedy Creek receives the money for hosting the class) and we will make a hot batch compost pile, talk about soil stewardship, planting with native plants and creating backyard wildlife habitats. You will receive the wire for a compost bin (like the one shown in the video) and a PLANT book with lots of information about composting and a comprehensive listing of native plants for your landscape. If you want to attend, you must call Lenny at Reedy Creek by 5pm on Friday 11/9. 704 598 8857. Its a fun class! Dress for the weather and bring a lunch!

New Comet Now Visible to Naked Eye

A new comet was spotted recently and has brightened to the point where it can now be seen with the naked eye. Check out this article from Sky & Telescope on the tracking of this comet and how this comet caught astronomers by surprise. So, if the skies are clear tonight, get outside and check out Comet Holmes. Here’s a sky map of where you can see it.

The shuttle Discovery landed safely yesterday but you can still see the International Space Station orbiting the earth. Click here to see when the ISS will be visible in your area.

A map for viewing Comet Holmes

HAWK Meeting Tuesday 11/6 at 7PM

After you vote!!! Come to the HAWK meeting tonight to listen to a great presentation by Jennifer Gordon of Carolina Waterfowl Rescue. Jennifer will speak on the plight of our waterfowl as well as Wildlife Rescue. The meeting will be at 7pm at the Matthews Community Center at 100 McDowell Street. Its free and open to everyone.

Pileated Woodpeckers

Another video from our recent Smell Like Dirt Takes a Road Trip to the Ichetucknee Springs State Park in North Florida. We got lucky and stumbled upon a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers who were too focused on looking for food to care about us filming them. Pileated Woodpeckers can be found across the Eastern United States so most of us have a great chance to see them. Find a large forested area near you and see if you can find some for yourself. They are very loud so chances are you will hear them before you see them.

Special thanks to Lauri Shubert of Lake City, Florida, for letting us use the still photos of a male pileated working on a tree in her own backyard. Lauri definitely Smells Like Dirt!